Not gonna lie: We've been sweating at the idea of trying FaceGym's visage-contouring "workouts" ever since we've been tracking its much-anticipated L.A. opening — especially after seeing videos like this, this, and this. The London-bred skincare studio opened its first West Coast outpost at 1 Hotel West Hollywood earlier this month, and (full disclosure) we had a chance to test-drive the brand's Signature Electrical treatment, which leaves the face plump and lifted without the help of Botox or fillers.
But first, more on the new facial haven. Founded by beauty columnist-turned-entrepreneur Inge Theron, the L.A. location is the U.K.-based brand's first within a hotel. (It simultaneously opened a studio at Nordstrom's new NYC flagship in Manhattan.) It's located outside of 1 Hotel and accessible from the street level on Sunset Boulevard, and on-site parking is $10 after validation.
Known for its "not a facial, it's a workout" mantra, FaceGym offers a menu of fitness-inspired treatments that incorporate beauty gadgets like mini yoga balls, gold derma rollers, gua sha contouring tools, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) devices, a radio frequency machine, and more.
FaceGym's pro aestheticians are dubbed Facial Trainers, and they'll use serums, masks, and other skincare products from clean beauty brands like Royal Fern, Allies of Skin, and Pestle & Mortar in your treatment. Everything's also available to shop at the studio alongside FaceGym's own line of training sticks ($49), serums ($65 to $90), and beauty tools ($22 to $35); foundation sticks and tinted primers by Gee Beauty ($36 to $56); and PureLift Face EMS devices ($500).
Those seeking to take home even more personalized skincare can mix up a custom Skin Boost at the Make It Bar by the check-in desk. There, you'll start with the Muscle Blend base and choose three add-ons depending the results you're seeking; options include Workaholic, Overexposed, Frequent Flyer, Better with Age, Always on the Guest List, and Squalane, plus an essential oil for a fragrant finishing touch. The whole process takes about 10 minutes and your first creation is $35; after that, it's $90 per bottle, and your bespoke formula will also be saved so you can restock easily in the future.
The Workout Menu
As far as the menu, there's a non-invasive "workout" for everyone, including the 30-minute Signature ($70) that leaves you toned and sculpted; as well as 40-minute treatments ($90 each) such as the hands-only Yoga Face for restoring and invigorating, the muscle-stimulating Signature Electrical for sculpting, and the high-intensity Boss, which includes a Skin I.V. Deep Clean drip to refresh the faces of on-the-go clients.
There's also the 45-minute Cryo Oxygen ($130), which blasts the skin with frozen CO2 to hydrate and plump; and the 55-minute detoxifying Party Face ($150), which combines the Signature Electrical with a glow-giving cocktail of vitamins, peptides, and acids via FaceGym's Skin IV technology.
If you're really looking to turn things your pampering up a notch, there are advanced workouts like the 75-minute Game Face ($275), which uses radio frequency to heat the skin in order to reduce puffiness, boost collagen, restore elasticity, and leave the face toned and radiant; and the 90-minute Gotta Have It All ($340), which combines radio frequency, the Skin IV Deep Clean, and Cryo Oxygen treatments for maximum tightening and lifting.
Also on offer are boosters ($20 to $100) like targeted radio frequency, Cryo Oxygen shots, deep cleaning cocktails, and vitamin shots. There are also Face Camp packages like the Lift It ($630) that includes two Game Face workouts and two Signature Electrical workouts, the Hydrate It ($400) that includes two Cryo Oxygen workouts and two Signature Electrical workouts, the Clean It ($415) that includes a Party Face and three Signature treatments with Skin IV Deep Clean, and the Wedding Workout ($515), which includes two Signature Electrical workouts, a Game Face, and a Cryo Oxygen. Frequent guests will also get one treatment free with every six workouts (excluding the Signature).
It's also worth noting that while workouts are totally fine for pregnant women after the first trimester, it's recommended that you wait to book your visit at least two weeks after getting Botox and four weeks after getting injected with filler.
Now that you know all about the offerings, keep reading below to see what it's like to experience FaceGym's Signature Electrical workout at its new L.A. studio, then book your next self-care session here.
After settling into the workout chair (which keeps you seated upright, unlike most facials where you're lying face up), our treatment began with a 15-minute consultation with our Face Trainer, Sara, who assessed our skin concerns and created a personalized skincare plan. As a 35-year-old busy mama of two, we pointed out the dryness on our nose and some minor signs of aging that we didn't mind smoothing out with non-invasive techniques (especially since we're still too afraid of needles near our face).
After we slipped on a hairband to keep our mane out of the way, our trainer used a mini yoga ball to get us in a relaxed, pampering-ready mood. After using Royal Fern's Cleansing Balm and a hot towel to clean our face, the next product to get slathered on was a serum containing L-carnitine and hyaluronic acid, which our trainer massaged into our skin. Then, we were ready to get into the heart-pumping portion of our facial fitness sesh.
This is where the real "exercising" began. Our "cardio" involved fast-paced hand flicks, light pinches, and therapeutic massages on our jawline, cheeks, and forehead, followed by a gold derma roller all over to help boost collagen and elastin production and help products soak in deeper. The moves also included rolling out the knots in our jaw to relieve tension, which had an "it hurts-in-a-good way" effect.
Next, it was time to get sculpted with the FaceGym Pro Xtreem Pulse device, which "is the equivalent of 600 sit-ups for your face," according to Sara. And it was certainly crunch time, especially since it was our first time trying an EMS treatment, which uses an electrical current to stimulate and tone the facial muscles. (Before it got started, our trainer applied an aloe vera gel to prep our face for pulsing.) We couldn't stop giggling as our brows and upper lip twitched voluntarily when the gadget pulsed across our jawline, cheeks, and temples.
We know what you're thinking: How painful is it to get zapped in the face? We were able to handle a medium-high level for most of the service, and Sara continued to check in with us to make sure we were feeling comfortable. We had her dial it down to the lowest electricity level on our forehead as it felt a bit intense on our scalp, which she said tends to be the case with most people.
And if you have any metal dental fillings, there may also be an awkward (but totally manageable) tingling in your teeth, as we experienced with the silver that capped one of our molars.
The Cool-Down & Results
Our trainer began our wind-down with gua shua tools to encourage lymphatic drainage and cool the skin, then finished off our face with Allies of Skin's Pollution Repair mask and a sunscreen moisturizer.
In addition to leaving with that "massage-drunk" feeling, we felt supremely relaxed in our jaw area where the massage had melted away all tension. (The stress-induced clenching is real, thanks to our never-ending deadlines.)
Another surprise? Our incredibly sculpted cheekbones and a noticeably slimmer face, all thanks to the EMS device. During our workout, our trainer worked on one side of our face so we could visibly compare the results to the non-treated side. (We're too shy to post our mugshot here, sorry!) Needless to say, it looked as if she shaved away five years from our visage and left it in a hydrated and glowing state.
At the end of the workout, we also left with a Training Plan with product recommendations and suggestions on when to come back. In our case, Sara encouraged us to come back for the Party Face within seven to 10 days since we mentioned a packed social calendar in the coming evenings. Judging by the results, you can bet we'll be back for even more high-intensity facials.
Intrigued? Swipe through the gallery below to take a few more peeks inside FaceGym's first L.A. skincare studio, then book your next appointment online here.